Key Difference – Tourism vs Ecotourism
Tourism is the activity of traveling to places for leisure. Tourism can also refer to the commercial organization and operation of holidays and visits to places of interest. Ecotourism is a special category of tourism, which is concerned with the conservation of nature and sustaining the well-being of local people. The key difference between tourism and ecotourism lies in this involvements with nature; tourism is not much concerned about the well-being of local people and conservation of nature, but ecotourism tries to create a minimal impact on the people and on the environment.
What is Tourism?
Tourism can be described simply as “people traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes” (the World Tourism Organisation). Tourism can be categorized as domestic, inbound and outbound. Domestic tourism refers to residents of a country traveling within that country. Inbound tourism refers to non-residents traveling in the given country whereas outbound tourism refers to residents of a country traveling in another country.
Tourism is a vital source of income for many countries and regions. It also supports the local economy by creating a demand for local goods and services. Various service industries such as transportation services (taxis, buses, airlines, etc.), hospitality services that provide accommodation (hotels, resorts) and entertainment venues such as amusement parks, clubs, casinos, shopping malls, etc. benefit from tourism.
Tourism can also be classified into various categories such as sustainable tourism, mass tourism, nature tourism, eco-tourism, educational tourism, etc. Tourism has both advantages and disadvantages. In terms of advantages, it can create new employments, develop infrastructure of a local area, and boost the economy of a country. But at the same time, it can cause environmental damage and pollute the local culture.
What is Ecotourism?
Ecotourism refers to people travelling to natural areas with the intention of enjoying the natural beauty, conserving the environment and learning about the environment and local culture. It is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”. (TIES – The International Ecotourism Society) Destinations with cultural heritages and fauna and flora are the primary attractions in ecotourism.
Ecotourists try to cause minimal impact to the environment; many ecotourism programs use methods such as reusing and recycling, composting, water conservation, reducing carbon footprint, etc. to conserve the nature. They also attempt to teach the tourist about local culture and create environmental awareness. Ecotourism programs may also provide funds for conservation of natural sites.
The Amazon, Costa Rica, Kenya, Botswana, the Blue Mountains in Australia, Galapagos Islands, Palau, the Himalayas, Dominica, Alaska, and Norwegian Fjords are som popular destinations in ecotourism.
What is the difference between Tourism and Ecotourism?
Tourism: Tourism is people traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes
Ecotourism: Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.
Tourism: Tourists have various purposes such as leisure, business, educational, entertainment, etc.
Ecotourism: Ecotourists are concerned about the conservation of nature, and the well-being of the local people.
Tourism: Tourism may involve different destinations.
Ecotourism: Ecotourism typically involves a natural attraction.
Impact on Environment:
Tourism: Tourists are often not concerned about the impact on the environment and local people.
Ecotourism: Ecotourists attempt to cause minimal impact on the environment and local people.Image Courtesy: “Tourists in Munich at the Marienplatz, 2011” By High Contrast – Own work (CC BY 3.0 de) via Commons Wikimedia “Puerto Princesa Underground River” By Mike Gonzalez – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia